Recognitions and Technology on USD 320 Agenda

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Wamego’s USD 320 Board of Education recognized Middle and High School scholars. At Monday’s meeting, High School Teacher and Coach Jennifer Topliff introduced the Forensics National qualifying teams, Zack Everson/David Howard, Chloe Albin/Anne Kenworthy and Roxy Hopkins/Trace Campbell in Duo Interpretation of Literature. Plus individuals Kyle May. Dramatic Performance; Nicolette May- Oral Declamation of Literature and Matiel Lindley-Oral Declamation of Literature.

Topliff received a 7 to 0 vote to take these 9 qualifiers to the Forensics Nationals in Chicago May 22nd though May 26th. The cost of the trip, including extras, is over $6,100, which was raised through fundraisers. Any expenses not covered through fundraisers will be covered by parents. The only indirect cost to the District will be the use of the School Bus for transport to Chicago.

State Science Fair participants from the Middle School were introduced by their teacher Tom Wilson. They include Lizzie Allenbrand, Elise Artzer, Noah Bailey, Cheyanne Brunner, Izzy Cunningham, Jeremy Fritz, Collin Hellman, Branden McMillin, Kristie Smith and Logan Ubel. According to Wilson, Jeremy Fritz was the overall winner in the State competition, and both received gift certificates.

Board members heard the Technology Center’s report.  Technology Center Director Jana Lindley went over the first year s report in a Power Point presentation. The Center got their start with a Community Service Tax Credit Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The grant provided 250 iPads, Charging Carts, 25 MacBooks and Projectors, with wireless service to the entire High School provided by Wamego Telecommunications Company.

According to Lindley, the Tech Center’s outreach numbered 323 since May of 2013. This includes 140 children and 183 adults. There are five instructors, two from Wamego schools, two from K-State and one from Highland Community College, plus many student volunteers as teachers. In addition, the Online Learning Lab provides students an opportunity to get a diploma, and allows USD 320 to keep the funds that were previously going to an outside entity that amounted to $60,000.

Lindley wants the public to know the Tech Center can provide employee training, and classes can be scheduled at local businesses to draw in new customers by combining technology with existing products. It may engage a new group of potential customers as well as educate existing employees.

Board members approved advanced courses for the Middle School. Director of Curriculum, Mary Kaye Siebert and Middle School Principal Vici Jennings proposed the advanced math and science classes based on PLC (Professional Learning Center) discussions with both Middle School and High School staff. Jennings said through these discussions, they discovered a need to provide a more rigorous course for higher level students, and to address curriculum changes the Next Generation Science Standards have challenged. She said the Advanced Science course would be offered for seventh grade during the 2014-15 school year, and both 7th and 8th grade during the 2015-16 school year.

Jennings recommended the advanced math class to include acceleration through the 6th grade curriculum and part of the 7th grade curriculum. In 7th grade, the remaining 7th and 8th grade curriculum would be taught. In 8th grade, these students will take Integrated Algebra. The students that advance at 7th grade will complete the 7th and 8th grade curriculums in one school year, and will take Integrated Algebra in 8th grade. Integrated Geometry will no longer be offered at the middle school. Both proposals were approved by a 7 to 0 vote.

In other business, the Board approved a new Capital Outlay Resolution based on the actions of the 2014 Legislature. According to Superintendent Denise O Dea, the Legislature expanded the list of what Capital Outlay can be used for and necessitated the need for the Board to approve a new Resolution. The resolution will be for one-year at a time and will qualify for state reimbursement for equalization at 39 percent. The funding of the Capital Outlay will not take place until the 2014-15 budget is approved.

Also, the Board scheduled a Special meeting with Dr. Kent Stewart for May 28th at 7 p.m. to discuss USD 320′s facility needs.